On Saturday, 1999 July 3, a brave group of volunteers delved into the task of removing the 36-inch mirror from its 600-pound shell at the back of the telescope.

After hours of careful scrutiny and heated debate over the schematics of the telescope...

...it was decided that the best way to start would be to take out the screws.

However, when the heavy, metallic base remained in position despite the absence of nuts and bolts,

the physicists became confused and marvelled at how the base appeared to defy gravity.

With the aid of a crowbar, they were able to dislodge the base from its high-precision, tight fit.

The next step was to attach the mirror

to the pneumatic hand pump crane.

With the mirror successfully removed...

...it was time to prepare the packaging.

Note from Brian F. Bower: You may have noticed the bubble wrap being used to pad the mirror in this picture. As one of the undergrads who drove this mirror 1000 miles to Skokie, I have to say that it put my mind at ease knowing that the relatively expensive, virtually irreplacable mirror was being protected with the latest in shock absorbing technologies.

Carefully lowering the mirror into what would be its humble home for the next two weeks.

Thanks to all those who helped!

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